Environmental charities are preparing to shed jobs and close thousands of school projects after losing £6m to local authorities.
The organisations are being forced to act in the wake of government changes to the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, which will come into effect on 1 April.
Until now, charities have received funding from landfill taxes to provide education initiatives on waste management. But the Government, as part of its action plan on sustainable development, is transferring the educational responsibility over to local authorities.
Voluntary organisations Global Action Plan and Waste Watch published a report this week claiming the move will force many charity projects to close. They are using the report to lobby the Government to reconsider the voluntary sector's role in waste education issues.
Global Action Plan will lose £230,000 allocated to its 'Action for School' initiative, which runs in 50 secondary schools. The scheme has helped schools reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill sites by 41 per cent. Six staff posts are at risk, and director Trewin Restorick admits he's "not massively optimistic" about finding alternative funding. "This is an incredibly short-sighted policy from a government that claims to have education as a priority and that is also facing a mounting waste-disposal crisis," he says.
Waste Watch is set to end its Schools Waste Action Club, which runs in more than 1,000 schools and has helped those involved to reduce waste by 47 per cent.